The latest news for you

First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
 May 31 – June 6, 2018
June 3, 2018
1 Samuel 3: 1-20
Who? Me?
Dr. Alan L. Gorrell

From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
On Ascension Sunday, May 13, we talked about Luke’s observation that the disciples were “continuously in the temple praising God.” We talked about the need for our missional energies to have a source, like Jesus in John’s gospel talks about staying connected to the vine. We talked about the Wesleyan understanding of that connectedness being referred to as Means of Grace.
Coming into my third year at ETSU, I walked into my dorm room and saw the light on my answering machine (for y’all who’ve only ever had a mobile phone in your hand, this was a machine you’d plug your phone line into [back in the day, we depended on actual, physical cords to get a telecommunication signal] that would answer the phone for us when we weren’t there and record the message someone might want to leave for us. It was like voicemail, but heavier and easier to program.) blinking. I pressed play and listened to the voice of the Reverend Jerry Everly inviting me to worship and hang out at the Wesley Foundation.

So I went.
And I went back.
And I became a regular.
And one of the things I loved about being at ETSU Wesley was that every Tuesday evening, after sharing a substantial and delicious meal prepared by Keitha, our administrative assistant, we would parade into the worship space and share a holy meal. I discovered how transformative it can be to receive the Body of Christ more often than the monthly or quarterly tradition most United Methodist churches practice.
That was when I started recognizing the power of the means of grace.
I suspect that most people only ever encounter two means of grace outside of regular weekly worship, and they are a pair that are drilled into many young people as the primary way of being shaped as disciples: daily devotion and daily Bible study.
And seldom does anybody ever tell us how to go about those. Just go do it. Dive in.
So people try to pray daily, and when they realize they don’t know how to listen, or they feel like they’re not getting divine feedback, they slowly give up on it.
And people try to study the Bible, to tackle it like you might a novel. They don’t realize it’s not a book; it’s a library. It’s unwieldy and weird and foreign like Beowulf to folks who are raised on Ramona Quimby and Harry Potter. So they give up and let it collect dust.
And so the souls of our young disciples are malnourished and dehydrated. They never learn to feast on the Body that is the Word and swim in the life-giving waters of their baptism.
We who have discovered something that nourishes us can tend to expect that if it works for us, it will work for everybody, but that’s absolutely untrue. You are a beautiful, miraculous, unique child of God, and what means of the grace of God nourishes you might just wash right over somebody else like waterboarding.

So let’s not torture each other.
Let’s find what works for each of us, and see if there are those places where we overlap and can practice those means of grace together and hold each other accountable.
Singing and reading Morning Prayer, Rite 2, works really well for me, but it’s way too rigid and foreign for some folks. If that’s a thing you find intriguing, though, let me know, and we’ll find the time to get together.
I also have a small group of clergy I meet with regularly to unwind and blow off steam and maintain accountability. I’d recommend an accountability partner or accountability group to everyone, but you have to find the right people you can trust.
I run every day, which is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea, but it makes me more and more familiar with the astounding gift that God has given to me in this scrawny little dust pot. Celebrating the temple you are and the gift of life God has given you is essential to your ability to celebrate anybody else.

I really want to help y’all, and help us together find the means of grace that are just right for us. I’m not going to pull that off in a newsletter article, although I can suggest to you that once this Summer settles down, toward the end of July, we’ll jump into a regular Bible study at least. That’s only a meager start, though.
What we can do is start talking about what else works for us. We can start finding the people who have similar needs, similar learning styles, similar backgrounds, similar interests, similar gifts (but not all that together. Diversity is vital.) and come together to let God’s Spirit nourish us in the way that isn’t too hot, isn’t too cold, but is just right for us.
Y’all, I am so excited about what God has in store for us, and I don’t even know what it is! I just know that we’re ready, and God’s always ready for us.

This week’s Feed the Hungry offering will go to the
Holston Conference Mission Offering.
This offering supports “Change for Children” and this year will also
support our South Sudanese Brothers and Sisters who are
in exile in Uganda, Africa.

What An Awesome Yard Sale It Was!
We raised $4,236.00 for the Children’s Shelter in Haiti !!
A huge and heart-felt ‘Thank You’ to everyone who helped with preparations,
on the day of the sale, and with removing the remnants!

Forty-one health kits were received for our mission to Liberia.
Thank you to everyone who helped with this project!

Mission of the Month
Our church has some eight volunteers who offer their time weekly during the school year to help young students become better readers.
This supportive environment helps the children to be more successful in school as well as in
other areas of life.

The Reading Buddies program has ended for the summer but stay tuned next week to see how you can participate when school is back in session!
First United Methodist Church gratefully acknowledges these gifts:
In Memory of Leona Wyatt
to the Memorial Fund
Given by Richard and Bevery McCallum
to the Building Fund
Given by Ron Schoenhardt
In Memory of Loetta Cornett
to the Memorial Fund
Given by David Howell and Barbara Benjamin

Last Sunday was . . .
Trinity Sunday and
Peace with Justice Sunday
John 3:1-17
Here Am I; Send Me

The prophet Isaiah recalls:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne,
high and lofty:
and the hem of the Lord’s robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance about him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, hold is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called,
and the house filled with smoke. And I said,
‘Woe is me! I am lost,
for I am a man of unclean lips,
and I live among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord of hosts!’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been
taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.
The seraph touched my mouth with it and said:
‘Now that this has touched your lips,
your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’
And I said,
‘Here am I; send me!’

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore his sacred name.
~George W Kitchen and Michael R. Newbolt

Send us, Lord, to share you as you have equipped us,
many different people with many different gifts,
to proclaim you who give us the model of diversity in yourself:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Last Week in Children’s Sunday School
Our lesson was from Acts 27 and 28. Ms. Penny used her flannel graph to tell the story. When Paul was being taken to jail for teaching about Jesus, his boat was shipwrecked, but Paul and all the people on board escaped safely to an island. Paul then was bitten by a poisonous snake, but he did not die or even get sick.
God kept him safe.
We made ‘snakes.’ On each ‘snake’ we wrote: Paul said, ‘I have Faith in God.’

Ms. Misty shows her finished snake.
Mr. Mike has help feeding the fish.
Next Exciting Youth Event . . .
Wednesday, June 6
Tankersley Hall
6:30 p.m.
Improv with Erica
For more information contact
John, Brandon, Andy, Rebekah, or Erica.

A Lovely Evening Was Shared By One of
FUMC’s Dinner Groups

Safe Sanctuary Workshop June 3

Sunday, June 3, 7:00 p.m.

South Bristol UMC

Led by Carolyn Kidd

Please consider attending if you have not yet been through this training.

Also, please let Pastor Brandon know if you plan to attend.

Holston Annual Conference
June 10-13 Lake Junaluska, NC

Please be in prayer for those who will attend this year’s Conference
and the decisions that are to be made.

A Pre-Conference Briefing in the Clinch Mountain District will be held at
Lebanon Memorial United Methodist Church
24 Tate Avenue
Lebanon, VA
Sunday, June 3, at 3:00 p.m.
All Clergy, Lay Members to Annual Conference and At-Large Members
are expected to attend.

Our Kids Need Your Support
Help shape a child by giving them a week to remember
at Camp Bay’s Mountain.
You can designate a donation to send an active church member’s child
(grades 1-12) to one week at UMC Camp Bay’s Mountain this summer.
Your donation can help give a kid the experience of a lifetime!
Total cost per child: $300-$500. Contributions of any size appreciated!

Camp Bay’s Mountain
Move the Flame!

The last few steps are being taken to begin a brand-new phase of camping ministry in the Tri-Cities. The first campers will flood Camp Bays Mountain on June 3, and they will gather on Thursday evening for holy communion and dedication to following Jesus around the first vespers campfire of the camp’s history!
But first, we have to Move the Flame from
Buffalo Mountain Camp to Camp Bays Mountain.
So Thursday afternoon, June 7, some folks will begin a relay of hikers and bikers and runners to pass the torch from one camping generation to the next.
If you’re a person who hikes, bikes, or runs; and if you have fondness in your heart for Buffalo Mountain Camp and Camp Bays Mountain, we would love for you to be a part of Move the Flame. Jennifer Bradley ( is organizing relayers, and you can find more information online or you can ask
Rev. Berg. Let’s get together and Move the Flame!

Camp Bays Mountain will offer summer camp 
for children and youth grades 1-12.

Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
to or call Carol at 423.652.2811 M-Th, 9-2.
For each publication, information is needed by noon on Wednesday.

Your Church Event and Planning Calendar
Week of May 31 – June 6, 2018
Thursday, May 31
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
Friday, June 1
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, June 2
9:00am-Simmer Down Catering (until 2pm)-TH
Sunday, June 3
  9:30am-Sunday School Hour
  9:30am-The River Worship Service-TH
 10:00am-Common Ground Service-Chapel
 11:00am-Traditional Worship-Sanctuary
                            (Childcare is provided from 9:30am to 12:00pm.
                             Children may be picked up at any time.)
12:15pm-Choir Rehearsal
Monday, June 4
 1:00pm-Food Pantry Volunteers-Bristol Emergency Food Pantry
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 7:00pm-Hispanic Congregation PVUMC
Tuesday, June 5
 8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-TH
Wednesday, June 6
6:30pm-Youth Activity-TH
            To make changes or additions to the calendar contact Alan Gorrell 423-652-7377
                                                   or Sandy Gorrell 423-652-1987.

First United Methodist Church
Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor (276.237.6498)
 322 Vance Dr., Bristol, TN 37620

Our Vision
Building A Community Where Anyone
Can Become A Deeply Committed Christian

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